Mediq has been around for years and supplies medical devices and advice to patients and hospitals. And suddenly there was MedQ, a company that gives advice to companies that produce medical devices. Our first instinct: hmm, those activities are very close together. 1-0 to Mediq, if you ask us.
MEDIQ VS MEDQ
Then let’s look at the resemblance of names, Mediq and MedQ. Although both device marks are quite different, this issue is also about the wordmarks MEDIQ and MEDQ. A difference of just one letter. So visually speaking, they are very similar trademarks. Confusing: 2-0 to Mediq.
MEDIEK VS METKJU
Of course, you also have to consider the sound of the brands. That’s where the distance is greater. MedQ is probably pronounced as ‘Metkju’ while Mediq (in Dutch) sounds more like ‘Mediek’. Here, MedQ definitely scores a point. Well, let’s say half a point. Mediq – MedQ: 2 – ½
And then there’s Mediq’s distinctive character, which is quite significant. The brand name has become well known in the Benelux over the past 10 years and a word like that with a Q is also striking. All this points to a broad scope of protection for the trademark and trade name Mediq. Our point of view: Mediq – MedQ: 3 – ½. So you’d think it’s time to strike.
And Mediq did. But to no avail. On 20 May, the court in The Hague sent the company home empty-handed. In particular, the court lets the difference in pronunciation weigh very heavily. As such, according to the court, MedQ keeps sufficient distance. Moreover, the court does not find the activities similar either. Mediq focuses on the patient, while MedQ provides professional advice for manufacturers. That’s not competitive, according to the court. However, even if they were similar services, the court still does not consider it an infringement because of the difference in pronunciation. There’s enough difference, no confusion. Mediq – MedQ: 0 – 1.
So sometimes, it’s a good thing nobody asked you for advice. We would have definitely told Mediq to take action against this confusing brand and trade name. Now let’s see if they appeal the decision.